Denver – Oct 2020

Any excuse to go see your kids is a great excuse.  We didn’t need an excuse, so off to Denver we went, since it was right on our way to… well, Denver.  Queue whisper-like Nat Geo voice: “Here you see the Child Unit in its’ native habitat.”

We camped at our go-to campground, Cherry Creek State Park, which is always awesome.  Close to town (Aurora), and yet miles away it seems.

This was our chance to spend several days with Drew and his girlfriend Rachel, and had a blast.  Between dinners, golf, tea, Monopoly Deal and bike rides, the time flew by.

Drew made reservations for golf in Evergreen, but neglected to tell me that in addition to the usual and obvious golf distractions like hitting a ball into the hole, there would be elk to navigate.  I guess one could reasonably say that elk were here in Evergreen long before golfers.  But still.

Have you ever heard a male Elk mating call?  It is something between a scream, a howl and a cry.  Which I guess is how all males feel when pursuing a female.  But when the one making the sound is about 5-times your size and weight, has 10-point horns about 5 feet across, and can outrun you in mere seconds, one tends to have respect.  Yes sir, may I have another…

And nothing helps my putting more than having Elk hoof marks on the greens.  Isn’t this game hard enough??

“Carl, I want you to kill all the gophers on the golf course…”

If you have children of a certain age, you are familiar with the term Ramen noodles.  It’s like Mac & Cheese for slightly older children.

When our son offered to take us out to dinner at a Ramen noodle place, you can’t imagine my delight.  A night out at a restaurant (outside and distanced) after a 6-month hiatus, and we are going for Ramen noodles?  Is there not a New York strip singing to me somewhere here in Denver?  Please God, say something.

I stand corrected.  We went to a restaurant called Uncle on S. Pennsylvania St (kind of near Washington Park) in Denver, and it was superb.  Even an old dog can learn new tricks.  I guess this place is Asian as it serves chopsticks; the noodles and broth were great, as well as the variation of meats or whatever would be your preference – all the flavors were awesome!  BTW, they serve buns (appetizers) that are killer – like soft shell crab or pork belly.  Who’s your daddy.

But we really didn’t go to Denver to eat; we went to learn how to play Monopoly Deal.  Now my bride is smacking me because she says we went to see our son, but I say we went for the game.  If you tend to have addictive tendencies, I recommend you not learn to play this card game.

Once you start to learn this game (it doesn’t take long), you are committed.  The conversation goes like this:  “Do we have time to play a game while the water heats up?”  Or “Let’s play a game while Dad ties his shoe.”  Any familial relations or friendships quickly become irrelevant; this is a cutthroat game – take no prisoners.

Monopoly Deal is a card game based largely on the game of Monopoly.  Unlike Monopoly, the card game does not string on for hours.  In fact, depending on card selection and strategy, a game can go by quickly.  Usually not to my advantage, I might add.

If you are looking for a game to suck the life out of you and cause people to think less of you, I highly recommend Monopoly Deal.

One of the unique things about Denver is its’ embracing alternative (to car) transportation, which of course includes bicycling.  There are bike lanes on most of the roads, as well as a huge network of bicycling trails.

We rode with Drew and Rachel from our campground for about 15 miles into the heart of Denver, and only once crossed a road.  The Cherry Creek Trail was terrific – a concrete path that largely followed Cherry Creek, to the point where it joined the South Platte River at Confluence Park.

Mind you, Karen and I are on ebikes, and yet it was common for people even our age (Holy Hell, that old?) to go flying by us on regular peddle bikes.  People in Denver peddle a lot.  And they go fast!  But the trail is great, people are respectful, and the views and artwork along the way were a treat!

And here are just a few shots at Confluence Park, where the rivers meet.

Speaking of rivers and waters, we also got to learn a bit more about the Mile High Flood District, which Drew works for.  Their mission is to protect people, property and the environment along the vast miles of water within the metro Denver area, and like anywhere, water management is a hot topic.  We saw a few examples of work the organization has been involved in.  Part of this project was to help reduce erosion.

For now, signing off from Denver.  Keep it between the lines, wear a mask, and try a little Ramen!  But stay away from Monopoly Deal.

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